Construction is a large and complex worldwide industry constantly shaped by new information technologies, advanced materials, environmental policies, regulations and changing building methods. Most importantly, though, construction is shaped by people. Sustaining a strong industry requires attracting and valuing a skilled, career-driven, high quality workforce... who also like to build! How is the construction industry attracting the skilled workforce for future growth market demands? Do prospective candidates see construction as a viable career choice?

Construction Career Collaborative (C3) and the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston hosted a town hall meeting for seven Contractors on April 11, 2016 at the offices of the Houston Chapter of Associated General Contractors to discuss the recent decision by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo for the Archdiocese to support the C3 initiative.  Those in attendance included representatives from Arch-Con Construction, Axis Builders, Brookstone, Durotech, Humphries Construction, Paradigm Construction, Westfall Group, and Zenith Construction.

The meeting featured opening remarks from Steve Faught, Director of Construction and Preventive Maintenance for the Archdiocese, who described the decision made by Cardinal DiNardo and its desired impact.  Faught spoke of up to 10 archdiocesan projects, currently in the planning stages, which he hopes will become C3 projects.  He also highlighted his hope that the cost impact of C3 projects for the Archdiocese will be minimal.  To support this aspiration, Faught spoke of a large commercial office-building project, which was bid with C3 requirements and without them.  Once the bids were totaled, the cost differential for the bids, which specified C3 criteria, was approximately 0.04% (four one hundredths of one percent) more than the bids without C3 requirements.   Read more » about C3 and Archdiocese Host Town Hall for Contractors

Last week, the Construction Citizen team updated you on the fact that lawsuits about worker misclassification have been ramping up all across the country. The battle is playing out on multiple fronts – particularly in court houses and in the halls of state legislatures. The problem is at crisis levels across many industries, especially construction, and federal regulators have signaled they are getting more serious about reining it in.

Put simply, worker misclassification is cheating. It happens when a business pretends its workers are independent contractors when, by law, those people should be paid as employees. There are many legitimate uses of contract labor, however, which is why the IRS has this test to determine who can and cannot be classified that way.    Read more » about Vermont Looks to Sharpen Stance on Worker Misclassification

Following the 2016 ABC National Craft Championships in Fort Lauderdale last month, Michael Noschese and Jose Morua, the gold and silver medalists in the Structural Welding competition, spoke with myself and fellow Construction Citizen author Jasmine Swoope about their experiences in the competition.  In a classroom at the CMEF facility in La Porte, Texas, we first heard from the winner of the Gold Medal in Structural Welding, Michael Noschese.

Elizabeth McPherson:  Michael, congratulations on your gold-medal win in structural welding at the National Craft Championships.  What was it like when you were in the middle of the competition, and you were doing your welds?  Were you thinking about the competition or were you just so focused?

Michael Noschese:  I was mainly focused on the welding.  I tried to stay calm.  I was calm throughout the whole thing, mainly.  I just did the welding.   Read more » about ABC National Craft Championships Medalists Share Their Experiences [VIDEO]

Across the country, there are more and more examples of businesses facing legal consequences because they were misclassifying workers as independent subcontractors when, by law, those people should have been treated as employees and compensated as such.

As Construction Citizen has documented over the years, there are many legitimate uses of contract labor. There is also, however a scourge of certain employers abusing the designation to dodge taxes, health benefits and other costs associated with having employees on payroll. Misclassification happens when a business intentionally uses contract labor to gain an unfair competitive advantage.    Read more » about Lawsuits Ramping Up Over Worker Misclassification

Editor’s note: Earlier, we told you about an event which focused on women in construction careers which was held in Galveston, Texas in February.  The following wrap-up of the Women in Industry conference was submitted by Alexandra Ellis, Workforce Communications Coordinator at Jacobs.

On February 19, 2016, the Community College Petrochemical Initiative (CCPI) hosted the Women in Industry Conference at the Hotel Galvez in Galveston, TX.  The Women in Industry Conference aimed to encourage women across the Gulf Coast to take advantage of these career opportunities and explore options in the petrochemical industry.  Attendees were able to hear from women currently working in the petrochemical industry while networking with industry representatives and educational administrators.

The target audience for this event included high school students attending or interested in attending Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, community college students, Community College Program Directors, Workforce Solutions Participants, and sponsors from the owner community.   Read more » about Industrial Leader Jacobs Connects with Women Interested in Construction Careers at Conference

All over the country, there are significantly different headlines about women in the construction industry. There seems to be a mixed message. Some stories focus on the fact that women are finding fantastic careers in construction while others suggest it is too difficult for women to gain traction in the business.

For example, the Hartford Courant recently reported "Progress Still Slow For Women Breaking Into Construction Jobs":

The barriers to women working in construction are many, advocates say — stereotypes about women's abilities from employers and co-workers, schools and families steering girls toward more traditional women's jobs, the lack of paid days off, and sexual harassment.    Read more » about Construction Welcomes Women to the Workforce

A week before travelling to Florida to compete in the ABC 2016 National Craft Championships (NCC), five Houston-area welders spoke with me about how they became interested in welding, their career aspirations, and what they love about their craft.  Some of their sponsors and instructors were also on hand to comment as they met at the Construction and Maintenance Education Foundation (CMEF) Performance Verification Center for a final briefing before the competition.

Jose Morua, father of three, works full time for Jacobs in addition to taking classes in the welding program at Lee College.  He decided to study welding after a friend encouraged him to go to school to better himself.   Read more » about Houston-Area Welding Competitors Speak Prior to the National Craft Championships [VIDEO]

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) proudly announces that three Harris County craft workers won medals at the 29th annual National Craft Championships. Lindsey Irvine won the gold medal in the pipe welding competition while Michael Noschese and Jose Morua won the gold medal and silver medals respectively in the structural welding competition. All three competitors were honored during the Careers in Construction awards ceremony on March 4.

“The dedication to top-notch construction, quality craftsmanship and world-class safety exhibited by this year’s award winners is truly impressive,” said 2016 ABC National Chair David Chapin, president of Willmar Electric Service, Lincoln, Nebraska. “With the workforce shortage facing the construction industry, each of this year’s competitors and finalists will play an important role in the future of merit shop construction. Our member companies are fortunate to employ such skilled craftsmen and women.”    Read more » about Harris County Welders Make History in Winning National Awards at ABC’s National Craft Championships